Tottenham, Liverpool, Man Utd: Every Premier League club's surprise package player

Fulham's Andreas Pereira

The Premier League finally returns this weekend and fans are absolutely raring to go.

Manchester City will defend their crown once again from Liverpool, while the likes of Chelsea and Tottenham battle to make their way into the title fight, and Manchester United and Arsenal negotiate the different stages of their rebuilds.

Tantalising and enticing angles fall all the way down the table with eyes on Eddie Howe’s Newcastle in their first full season following a takeover, Everton following a shaky 2021/22 campaign and the Premier League’s not-so-newbies who have returned from the Championship.

Add the curveball that is the 2022 World Cup into the mix – being held from November to December – and we’ve got ourselves one seriously action-packed and undoubtedly unmissable dosage of Barclays action, ready and waiting for all to enjoy.

Pressure will be on all 20 clubs to deliver from the get go, as ever, with particular interest in how each manager will choose to set up their respective squads throughout the campaign. The allure always surrounds the unpredictable excitement of incoming transfers, but fresh faces doesn’t always guarantee success.

From youth prospects to rotation arms and utility signings, an unsung hero almost always emerges. Even for those clubs who flop.

Sesko to advance this week! (Football Terrace)

So, with that in mind, we at GIVEMESPORT have attempted to jump the gun and pick out the player at each club that hasn’t necessarily been tipped to set the world alight, but will ultimately end up proving a vital cog in the machine this season.

Arsenal – Emile Smith Rowe

After a red hot start to last season, form and crucially goal contributions seemed to fizzle away for Smith Rowe. Considering that he now faces increased competition for places following more solid recruitment, it’s fair to say that expectations have been lowered around the Englishman.

However, that could be exactly what he needs. The pressure is off and so is the onus on him to go and be The Gunners’ chief creator. With the shackles off and the season a long one, he’ll get the game time, and build the confidence to surprise a few once again.

Arsenal's Smith Rowe
LONDON, ENGLAND – APRIL 20: Emile Smith Rowe of Arsenal celebrates after scoring their team’s second goal during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Arsenal at Stamford Bridge on April 20, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Aston Villa – Matty Cash

Villa haven’t held back in the transfer market. Steven Gerrard is building a seriously exciting squad and fans are dreaming of a push for European football.

It would be easy to pick out a new signing, but we aren’t doing that. Instead, we’ve gone for Cash, who has been fine at full back, but could definitely be better. And we think he will be in a much more balanced and improved side next season. The Poland international will thrive.

Bournemouth – Kieffer Moore

Scott Parker has it all to do to keep Bournemouth in the Premier League. Recruitment so far has left a lot to be desired, and competition down at the bottom of the table is relentless.

Ultimately, they’ve got to find a way to score goals. Dominic Solanke did that in the Championship, but could come unstuck in the Premier League again. Enter super sub Moore. A big man with good feet, he’s the perfect asset to relieve the pressure in attack in those difficult months of the year.

Moore celebrates
BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND – MAY 03: Kieffer Moore of AFC Bournemouth celebrates after scoring their team’s first goal during the Sky Bet Championship match between AFC Bournemouth and Nottingham Forest at Vitality Stadium on May 03, 2022 in Bournemouth, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Brentford – Yoane Wissa

25-year-old Wissa quietly impressed in his and Brentford’s first season in the Premier League, but isn’t the talk of the town when discussing the Bees. All the focus is on Ivan Toney, Bryan Mbeumo and the impending arrival of Mikkel Damsgaard from Sampdoria – understandably, too.

But with Wissa, Brentford have a seriously talented winger who can play on either flank, break beyond the last line of defence and weigh in with a goal. Expect him to improve on last season’s respectable tally of eight league goal contributions this time around.

Brighton – Moises Caicedo

Another Graham Potter masterstroke in recruitment, Brighton snapped up the Ecuadorian midfielder in early 2021, but recalled him from a loan spell halfway through last season to bolster their midfield.

We saw glimpses of his talent and high ceiling in that time, but expect those glimpses to turn into a full showing this season. Caicedo has had time to bed in and will enjoy plenty of possession to strut his stuff. One to watch.

Caicedo in action for Brighton
READING, ENGLAND – JULY 23: Moises Caicedo of Brighton and Hove Albion at the Select Car Leasing Stadium on July 23, 2022 in Reading, England. (Photo by Eddie Keogh/Getty Images)

Chelsea – Trevoh Chalobah

It’s hard picking out a name that flies under the radar in such a star-studded squad, but with Kalidou Koulibaly arriving, many have forgotten about the importance of Chalobah.

The 23-year-old broke into Thomas Tuchel’s side last season and adds tenacity, composure and youth to a back three of Koulibaly and Thiago Silva. He’ll be relied upon a lot more than people are perhaps expecting.

Crystal Palace – Will Hughes

Hughes only managed 16 league appearances in Patrick Vieira’s revived Crystal Palace outfit last season, but looked a dependable and creative asset every time he featured.

Aged 27 and coming into his peak years, the midfielder is a reliable hand and someone Vieira can put his trust in while his youthful squad continues to develop.

Will Hughes celebrates for Palace
LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 08: Will Hughes of Crystal Palace celebrates at full time following victory in the Emirates FA Cup Third Round match between Millwall and Crystal Palace at The Den on January 08, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

Everton – Alex Iwobi

In a relentless battle to keep Everton afloat last season, Frank Lampard ended up using directionless winger Iwobi in a deeper, more central role. And it worked a charm, to the surprise of many.

Iwobi showed his qualities in a deeper role where he could get on the ball earlier. It’s clear that he can play a key role for The Toffees in a newfound position and should be given the licence to do so, while Lampard finds some continuity.

Fulham – Andreas Pereira

Harry Wilson was going to be the player to watch at Fulham, but after suffering an injury in pre-season, his start to the campaign has been derailed completely.

That puts an extra pressure on Pereira to come in and deliver from the off, which he is absolutely capable of doing. He wasn’t at the required level to strut his stuff at Old Trafford, but a move down the Premier League after a few years of experience suits him down to a tee. Leading from the front.

Fulham's Andreas Pereira
FARO, PORTUGAL – JULY 17: Andreas Pereira of Fulham looks on during the Trofeu do Algarve match between Fulham and SL Benfica at Estadio Algarve on July 17, 2022 in Faro, Portugal. (Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images)

Leeds – Sam Greenwood

Perhaps a surprise pick considering the summer they’ve had, 20-year-old Greenwood didn’t drastically turn heads in his seven league appearances last season, but he clearly earned the trust of Jesse Marsch in the end.

And with Patrick Bamford’s injury record looking shaky, Greenwood will probably feature a lot more regularly this season. In what could be his first true breakthrough campaign, Marsch’s intended style of play could lend itself nicely to the youngster.

Leicester – Patson Daka

Daka understandably struggled with the step up from the Austrian Bundesliga to the Premier League in his maiden season at the King Power Stadium, scoring just five times in the league.

However, Jamie Vardy isn’t getting any younger and the 23-year-old Zambia international is a season more experienced than last time out. He’ll be relied upon much more as the campaign progresses, and should relish the opportunity.

Daka in action for Leicester
HULL, ENGLAND – JULY 20: Patson Daka of Leicester City in action during the Pre-Season Friendly between Hull City and Leicester City at MKM Stadium on July 20, 2022 in Hull, England. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)

Liverpool – Roberto Firmino

Darwin Nunez this, Diogo Jota that – everyone’s forgetting about the importance of Firmino and it’s rather criminal.

He’s been linked with a move away to Juventus this summer, but it appears as though an exit was blocked and for good reason. When the going gets tough for Nunez this season, the Reds need someone to hang their hats on. Firmino will show just how important he is as a senior head in the squad.

Manchester City – Kalvin Phillips

Signed from Leeds this summer, we back Phillips to feature much more regularly than people are probably anticipating.

Pep Guardiola loves to rotate his squad. That policy will no doubt go into overdrive with the interruption of the World Cup in winter, while Phillips gives him a chance to rest Rodri for those all-important Champions League nights.

Phillips in action for Leeds
GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN – JULY 23: Kalvin Phillips of Manchester City in action during the pre-season friendly match between Bayern Munich and Manchester City at Lambeau Field on July 23, 2022 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Manchester United – Scott McTominay

Death, taxes, and McTominay proving important to another United manager. Fans don’t want to hear it, but it’s the truth. He will prove useful to Ten Hag.

With some actual coaching for the first time in years and the protection of a system that is more beneficial – and some very healthy squad rotation, ideally – the Scotland international will look reborn. Trust us. McSauce is coming back.

Newcastle – Joe Willock

It didn’t go to plan for Willock after he made his move to Newcastle a permanent one, but with the takeover shenanigans settled down and Eddie Howe firmly in the driving seat, he should pick up again.

There’s undoubtedly a talented player in there. And considering Howe’s track record when it comes to getting the most out of talented, young, English players, you can just see Willock thriving at the Magpies this season.

Willock in pre-season for Newcastle
NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND – JULY 30: Newcastle player Joe Willock in action during the pre season friendly match between Newcastle United and Athletic Bilbao at St James’ Park on July 30, 2022 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Nottingham Forest – Steve Cook

A boring pick, but a vitally important one.

Cook is 31 – prime age for a defender – was key to Forest’s promotion and has experienced the difficulties of the Premier League in recent seasons. In a season that is merely about surviving, he’ll be key on and off the pitch in getting through the tougher moments.

Southampton – Armel Bella-Kotchap

For a club that has a habit of conceding nine goals worryingly regularly, signing a very highly rated Bundesliga defender was a very shrewd piece of business.

Bella-Kotchap looked a seriously bright prospect while at VfL Bochum. His first season won’t be smooth sailing, but he’ll absolutely shore things up at the back for Southampton if trusted to find his feet.

Southampton's Bella-Kotchap
SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – JULY 30: Armel Bella-Kotchap of Southampton on the ball during the Pre-Season Friendly match between Southampton and Villarreal at St Mary’s Stadium on July 30, 2022 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)

Tottenham – Lucas Moura

Ah, the Antonio Conte effect. We were considering Ivan Perisic for Spurs, but the truth is it’s just too predictable – we all know he’s going to be key this season.

Conte had started to experiment with the idea of Moura playing as a right wing-back in pre-season. The Brazilian is technically sound and a work horse, thus he’ll feature prominently for Conte, wherever he is needed. Not a name that excites Tottenham fans anymore, but a dependable figure.

West Ham – Craig Dawson

Nobody expected Dawson to jump from relegated West Brom to West Ham and have the impact on the first XI that he’s managed to have – probably not even West Ham fans.

But alas, the English defender and Premier League’s resident hard man has defied the odds and proven himself to be absolutely vital at the back. He’s not flashy or fancy, nor did he cost a lot in the transfer market, but he sure is important.

Dawson in Europa League action
LYON, FRANCE – APRIL 14: Craig Dawson of West Ham United reacts during the UEFA Europa League Quarter Final Leg Two match between Olympique Lyon and West Ham United at Parc Olympique on April 14, 2022 in Lyon, France. (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)

Wolves – Hwang Hee-chan

Turbulent is the best way to describe Hwang’s 2021/22 season. It was obvious that his supreme talent was there, but he often blew very hot and cold, which was the issue all too often for Wolves last time out.

However, with Bruno Lage settled in and the worrying run that plagued the end of last season out of the way, the South Korean forward should thrive this time around. He’s a brilliant technician and has the eye for goal, and we back him to find his stride as a result of that.

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